"Are You Adoptable?"
(Author Unknown)

2-1-2007 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #427
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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

Goodness, Goodness… February 1st already! Oh well… we still have 11 months left to accomplish what we are able…

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Patije

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Story of the Week
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Are You Adoptable?
(Author Unknown--by way of The Daily Encourager)

One of my favorite activities is to visit our local animal shelter. It's a bittersweet tug on my heart, as I would love to scoop up and take a bunch of the animals home with me, yet I know that reality tells me I can not. So, my time spent is mostly conversing with and petting the animals that I can.

There is one large dog there named, Otis, who is NOT up for adoption. I believe the Lord used this dog to teach me a valuable lesson. When I first started coming to the shelter to visit with the animals, Otis would always growl, bark and sometimes lunge at the cage. It didn't matter how much I tried to talk to him, he was still very stand- offish. Soon, I gave up trying and kept my distance so as to not cause him any additional stress.

Months had gone by, and even when in the same room with Otis, I would just ignore him and not go by his cage. Although, he wasn't barking or growling at me anymore, I still maintained my distance. I just didn't trust him.

One day, a small, 4-month-old black lab puppy was placed next to Otis. I went up and started talking to this puppy, gently and playfully. Little did I know that the whole time I was talking to the puppy, old Otis thought I was talking to him. Starved for attention and human touch, Otis placed the side of his body up against the cage for me to pet him.

Was I nervous? You bet I was!! This was the same dog I thought would bite my hand off. I looked in his eyes and all I saw was one of God's creatures, wishing only to be loved.

Slowly, I started to pet Otis and call him gently by his name. The joy in his eyes was inexpressible.

How many times, I thought, had I treated a person in the same manner as I had treated Otis? Maybe, because of their outside exterior, their gruffness, rudeness or maybe even irritability, I had distanced myself or even ignored them. Had I failed to really, really look and see their true inner being? Like Otis, all of us long to be loved and accepted.

Isn't it wonderful that God accepts us and wants us just as we are? He doesn't say, "Come, when you get your life in order." or "Come, when you stop with that bad habit.", or "Come, when all your relationships are mended." NO, when He says, "Come as you are," that's exactly what He means.

Remember a kind soft word, gentle hug or smile may be all that is needed to soften the hearts of the Otis's in this world.

And, YES, Otis is still at the shelter, and he's still one of my most favorite dogs to spend time with!

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Pastor's Quote of the Week
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If we proclaim to you the truths of the spirit, the spirit will witness in your hearts that our message is genuine. Concerning the kingdom and your assurance of acceptance by the heavenly Father, let me ask what father among you who is a worthy and kindhearted father would keep his son in anxiety or suspense regarding his status in the family or his place of security in the affections of his father's heart? Do you earth fathers take pleasure in torturing your children with uncertainty about their place of abiding love in your human hearts? Neither does your Father in heaven leave his faith children of the spirit in doubtful uncertainty as to their position in the kingdom. If you receive God as your Father, then indeed and in truth are you the sons of God. And if you are sons, then are you secure in the position and standing of all that concerns eternal and divine sonship. If you believe my words, you thereby believe in Him who sent me, and by thus believing in the Father, you have made your status in heavenly citizenship sure. If you do the will of the Father in heaven, you shall never fail in the attainment of the eternal life of progress in the divine kingdom.

(From: The Urantia Book - Paper-142 Section-5 )

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The Prayer
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Dear God,        
        Thank You for loving us… warts and all.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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